October 1, 2007
    Hopedale History
    No. 92
    Site Protection

    Preservation Mendon will be sponsoring a demolition delay bylaw workshop on October 2, 7 to 9 at
    the Mendon Unitarian Church. More at Preservation Mendon website.

    There will be a free public screening of the first feature-length documentary film examining the
    infamous Sacco and Vanzetti case, with post-screening discussion featuring the filmmaker Peter
    Miller and historian Bruce Watson, author of Sacco and Vanzetti: The Men, the Murders and the
    Judgment of Mankind, at the David I. Davoren Auditorium at Milford High School, Saturday, October 6,
    7:30 PM

    Hopedale in September - More pictures have been added in the last two weeks. Pictures of Hopedale
    in October will be posted on the website in the next few days.  

    The Little Red Shop Renovation Project Menu  

    Jeff Belanger, billed as "the paranormal," will be appearing at the Bancroft Library on October 10 at 7

    Here's a link sent by Peter Metzke for the Irish Round Tower in St. Mary's Cemetery, Milford. It's part of
    the Irish Heritage Trail website. I didn't know there was such a thing, but Peter found it from way off in

    Elaine and I will be speaking on Hopedale history at the meeting of the Northbridge Historical Society
    on October 1 and at the Heritage Homecoming Committee breakfast at the Hopedale Unitarian
    Church on October 5.                                            


     The Draper Corporation was known for being very careful about the appearance of Hopedale. Here's
    an excerpt from what John Garner wrote on the subject shortly after the end of the Draper era.

                                                                         Site Protection

      From the very beginning the Draper Company turned its attention to site protection. Landscaping
    would be enhanced by paying careful attention to the upkeep of open spaces. Every effort would be
    made to police the premises. The company left nothing to chance. Garbage and rubbish were
    regularly picked up as a company service, and junk was not permitted to accumulate on vacant lots.
    No fences were put up, which would further divide small yards and interfere with the appearance of
    open spaces. Not even around the houses of the owning families could fences be built. "Of course
    there are other property and estates in Hopedale than those owned by the Drapers, but from the
    property owned by them - that is, in front of and from around the cottages of the employees - all fences
    are being removed, thus giving the town a much closer resemblance to South Manchester." [Boston
    Herald, Oct. 25, 1887, p. 5.] Also banned were street signs: one employee who came to work in
    Hopedale in 1910 thought it strange that the company could furnish attractive homes and streets but
    could not afford street signs. He learned later that this omission was by design. William F. Draper
    insisted so much on a natural setting with wide vistas that he refused to place distractive numbers or
    addresses on company houses. Not until after the turn of the century was mail delivered to an
    individual's home. Before then, mail had to be picked up at the post office. The result of site protection
    enabled Hopedale to maintain as much as possible the naturalness of its environment at to avoid all
    the ugly man-made obstacles that normally obstruct yards and streets. An argument can be made
    that the company thwarted efforts to personalize houses and grounds; yet no rules described how
    houses could be kept or appointed inside, so long as property was not damaged or destroyed.

      After the turn of the century and the advent of the automobile, the open landscape of model company
    towns, like other small towns designed for pedestrians, encountered a formidable enemy. Autos
    were parked everywhere. Some were driven into front yards, while others straddled sidewalks and
    occupied streets. At Hopedale (which contained six autos in 1910) all vehicles were treated as
    storage items, to be displayed only when in use. During the 1890s storage sheds had been
    constructed along service roads behind houses for family use. However, rather than being aligned in
    rows immediately behind the houses, they were grouped in one location. These storage sheds,
    which later became garages, sat apart from the hoses and were hidden from street sight. At the Lake
    Point development these storage sheds occupy spaces entirely removed from the houses in a
    common arrangement off by themselves and fenced by trees from the view of passersby. (Recently
    these sheds have been rebuilt in brick exclusively for autos.) Providing an unobtrusive way to store the
    automobile, the design of such a communal garage arrangement is now readily employed in new
    towns where pedestrians and vehicular traffic is separated. John Garner, Model Company Town,
    1982, pp. 161 - 162.

     Garner's observation about the sheds becoming car garages, when he wrote this in 1982, can now
    be reversed.. The brick garages built off of Lake Street and Jones Road in the 1950s are now rented
    for storage. There are about as many of the old wooden garages remaining, as there were cars in
    town in 1910. Recalling that year, Charles Merrill wrote, "I can name six people who had automobiles
    in 1910.  There may have been a few more, but surely all the cars in town would not exceed a dozen,
    and these were not all in daily use.  So it was that the sound of a motor was rarely heard, and the skies
    overhead were the exclusive domain of clouds and birds, as I firmly believe the Creator intended.  
    The heavens had not yet been desecrated by roaring monsters, because only recently had the Wright
    brothers succeeded in getting off he ground for a few seconds." Charles F. Merrill, Hopedale As I
    Found It, p. 3.   

      Garner's comment about street signs and people picking up their mail at the post office strangely
    stops short of making the connection. I've seen elsewhere that the Drapers felt that too many signs
    contributed to a cluttered look, and therefore street signs weren't erected in Hopedale until the post
    office required it when they started home delivery. When they did put up street signs, it's almost certain
    that they were produced in the Draper foundry.


    Recent death:

    Eileen T. (McCarthy) Casey, 85, September 16, 2007.

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